KC Dalager and Brad Hale aren’t back. They’ve never left. Despite six years having passed since their ambient rock album Threads won over fans across the globe, the duo never went anywhere. They’ve spent nearly all of that time second term touring, writing, getting stuck, restarting, and figuring out what was next.
Saved is six years removed from Threads. The Minnesota duo – who parted ways with Jess Abbott – have grown up. Thematically, they still explore the age-old topics of love, rejection, and finding one’s place in the universe. Now, they do it more maturely and without hesitation.
Younger bands tend to try to be wise beyond their years. Grand melodramatic lyrics that sound heart touching. Now, Now had few of those, but now they’re washed away. Lyrically, the album is simple. Don’t get me wrong. It cuts through you, but now Dalager doesn’t need to hide behind crafty turns of phrases. She sings what is on her mind confidently. There are a lot of lyrics about angels. Her voice belongs with them. She has a pitch-perfect hush over Hale’s mesmerizing beats and rhythms.
The band has always danced between a lo-fi garage band and a synth-filled dance one. Here, they mix the two modes with tremendous effect. At times they sound like a Britney Spears deep cut or a CHVRCHES track while other times I’m pretty sure George Michael or Prince would have had a number one single with the duo’s material.
The first track on the album is the first track they released in mid-2017. “SGL” is the most perfect version of the band. Their other singles were just as engrossing. “Yours,” “AZ,” and “MJ” round out the poppy sound that fills the album. Each shows a different side of the Midwesterners’ skillset. Deeper cuts still stand out though. “Holy Water” is a lyrically bare ballad, but what is there is crushing.
Despite how good the previously released singles are, this is one of those albums that needs to be listened to full through. Dalager and Hale know how to write a banger, but their magic lays within the bigger picture of a complete project. Sure, every song features a sing-a-long hook like they’re spreading an infection, but you should sit back for an hour on the beach or in your car on the side of the road to fall into Now, Now’s Saved.